BDUK project signings are more often associated with areas that sound much more rural than Newcastle City Council, but under the original BDUK allocations the area was allocated £970,000 and after following the BDUK framework a contract has been awarded to BT to push fibre based broadband coverage in the City Council's area to 97% of premises.
Newcastle itself already has a widespread availability of Virgin Media cable services and an extensive roll-out of fibre based services via Openreach, with Openreach due to add more coverage under its commercial roll-out to the Denton Burn and Kenton areas by Spring 2014.
This intervention project is matched funded by the City Council who are adding £970,000 and BT is contributing £1.89 million, with the aim of ensuring every business or home can access a 2 Mbps service, and 97% of these will have the option of buying a fibre based service. In terms of speeds, for the area where the funding is being spent 74% should have access to speeds at 24 Mbps and faster, and the technology split will be 91% FTTC and 9% FTTP.
"Given that the internet is integral to how we live our lives now, from shopping online to playing games to watching films, ensuring all homes have fibre broadband access will put Newcastle at the forefront of ensuring that residents are fully connected."
In addition, high speed reliable broadband access is an essential modern day business tool, and we are determined that we will have the best connectivity of any European city to make Newcastle a natural home for businesses to grow in the future."Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council
The 97% would appear to be a minimum goal as the press release talks about exploring options for the final 3%, and we believe it will largely depend on how far the money stretches in the main part of the roll-out.
For residents and businesses the latest news should be available via the www.godigitalnewcastle.co.uk website.
Newcastle also has another pot of cash for broadband via the super-connected cities fund, but since the heady heights of 2012 the plans have probably changed and vouchers for businesses to invest in better broadband are more likely.